our happy places [brisbane family photography]

The thing that I love most about lifestyle family portraits, is that there are no rules. You can make your session as simple or creative as you like. You get to wear the things you love (whether thats jeans & T’s or something quirky or extravagant). You can have your session in a place you adore (perhaps that’s your wonderful home or maybe somewhere that you’ve been hoping to visit together for months). You get to do the things you love to do together (from pancakes at your kitchen bench for breaky, to visiting the organic markets, to an adventure at a sideshow alley). YOU get to choose. And you get to have a great time as a little family where the focus is only on having a fun together. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a mum and daughter, or parents with a wild big brood of kids, whatever your story is, that’s what I want to discover. It’s about you, being you.

This sweet family desired to have their saturday morning family tradition captured.  When they are all up and dressed, they head off for a walk together to their local reserve. They explore and have fun. They watch the ducks swim and find cool sticks and rocks to play games with. They laugh and giggle together. Then they finish their stroll with babycinos and coffees at their favourite local cafe.  It’s sweet, pure fun at it’s simplist.  It’s a story that is theirs, memories that will remind these parents of the time when their little ones were young. And as the years pass, they can share these beautiful moments with their children – showing them the very beginnings of their family traditions.  It’s family.  It’s good fun.  I love it x Maddie




Sugar and spice [brisbane newborn photography]

When I had my own first baby four years ago my husband and I had wanted the gender to be a surprise. So when our baby was born, we were thrilled to realise we had a delightful little girl in our arms (what we secretly had wanted!).   But like many mums, I had a small thought that I would endeavour not to overdo the ‘traditional pink’ look in the clothing department. Within a few weeks though, we were inundated with pink gifts, pink clothes, pink hats and pink shoes. And the funny thing was, I soon realised, that my little girl looked absolutely ADORABLE in pink!  I tried red and blue and yellow and nothing made her look as rosy and sweet as pink did.  But I loved it. So she went on to spend the next few years fashioning various shades of wonderful pink and I enjoyed every second of it!

So far this year, my newborn sessions this year have been a good mix of both boys and girls. But I thought I’d share a real girly one from earlier this year that I’ve been meaning to post. This is adorable little Poppy with her mum and dad. I met them a few months ago and Poppy certainly suited the sweetness of pink. Her mum has done an amazing job creating her nursery too and the whole session was truly wonderful. We all had a relaxing time spending the morning at their family home, a little while inside the nursery and then some time out in the garden.  So cute!





Amara’s Story [brisbane photojournalism]

Just before Christmas I decided to give away the gift of a portrait session via my blog. The recipient was drawn randomly and when I opened the piece of paper I excitedly emailed the winner. It’s always interesting with a random draw as I don’t know who the winner is or any details of their story or who they are.  And so, I came to meet a woman named Amara. Over the coming weeks we emailed several times and I learnt that Amara suffers from ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and for the most part is home bound.  She told me about her debilitating condition and a project that she and a friend created to provide solutions for people in circumstances like their own.  So for this session, I planned to help Amara capture a little of her journey.
When I met Amara on the day of the shoot,  I instantly felt the warmth of her soul. In the midst of a darkened room I could see a beautiful soul bound by the limitations of her body.  Even something as simple as getting a cup of water can be inhibited by weakness, confusion, stuttering, involuntary spasms and dizziness.  In my time with Amara I saw both sides of her daily life, moments of rest and clarity and in a split second followed by moments of involuntary movements and confusion. As I thought about her condition and how different it was to my life I tried to make a parallel to her frustrations.  I pictured in my mind her brain wanting to do something, but having a body that didn’t always work the way she desired.  As we chatted,  I told her how I somewhat likened it to the time I had borrowed a camera very different to my own to have a play with, and it seemed completely backward to what I knew of my usual gear.  Where I could see what I wanted to do in my minds eye but this ‘thing’ was holding me back, doing things I didn’t want it to and frustrating me in trying to achieve the basic settings and way of shooting I was used to.   Amara said that was a good illustration and is the way it frequently is on a daily basis.
However even with Amara’s illness so evident, I saw a true picture of the woman inside. A woman who loves to read books and yearns to write often. A woman who loves to help others and see people move forward. A woman who loves her cat and adores nature. A woman who would like nothing more than to spend a morning scouring for vintage treasures with a friend.  And in talking about these things with her I saw a beautiful hope inside her eyes. A hope that perhaps her change will come very soon.  With Amara’s permission I will share a few images from her story.   You can read more about Amara’s journey and project here.  Maddie x



Amy & Walter, 74 years of marriage [brisbane]

As many of you know, my quest to find Brisbane’s longest married couple was a personal project I embarked upon in January. It’s a project that I have been meaning to do for a number of years but kept putting off because I was ‘too busy’. Well, 2013 is the year where I want to stop putting off some of the non-urgent things in life, so this was one of the first on my list.  When I put out the word that I was searching, I didn’t know who would respond and what kind of years I would be finding. My husband’s grandparents in NSW have been married for 66 years, which is an amazing achievement, and I thought perhaps there might be a couple who had beaten that.
I had quite a number of sweet couples in their 50th and 60th years and then when I received an email from one couple’s grand-daughter I realised that my dream had come true to surpass 66.  And by quite a long shot I might add!  Walter and Amy have been married for 74 years. Yes, married for 74 years!  And they themselves are 96 and 97 years of age. It was such a pleasure to meet them! As I sat with them for a cup of tea, you wouldn’t have known their ages. They were a spritely pair and I had a wonderful time with them, hearing their story and laughing with them.  Most of us could only wish to be that switched on and joyful at such an age!  As I talked with them I realised that perhaps that is what has kept them going so long. The laughter. People say joy is the best medicine and I can certainly tell you that they both enjoyed chatting and sharing their story. Amy was the talker and Walter was much quieter but would occasionally share a funny story or a cheeky grin which I loved.
They had met each other in the 1930’s. Amy was heading to an Ambulance Picnic (seaside festival) with a few friends, one of whom was Walter’s sister. As the girls approached the group of young men, Walter poked his head out from under a truck he was working on to say hello. Amy says she immediately thought “Ooh, that looks nice!’ as she looked at Walter (her words exactly!).  And so she persued Walter and he ‘let her walk around on his arm”. Their first date was a trip to the movies at the Regent Centre in Brisbane. She thought Walter was very good looking and organised everything for them to court.  When they got married in 1939 they began life with just two shillings and themselves. They spoke a lot about starting with nothing but themselves and then building a life around that.  Perhaps there is a secret in that, when we love each other and choose to be together for nothing but ourselves (not wealth, or status or any material thing) a bond can be formed at the deepest level.  And then everything else becomes a bonus.
Their greatest achievement they say, is in staying together.  It was a proud moment when they received a letter from Queen Elizabeth congratulating them on their 70th anniversary (Walter is keen to receive his 100th birthday card in a few years too!). They worked hard to create a good life and home for their three children. And family life has been their greatest joy too. Amy remembers the arrival of her firstborn like it was yesterday.  It was so amazing to see the excitement in her eyes when she told me what it was like to hold her baby girl in her arms for the first time, she recalled it as if it were yesterday.  And it was interesting to hear her refer to her youngest boy too – “he is my baby, I still call him that, even though he is 68!”
Care seems to be a big key for these two. Care for each other, care for their family, care for their home. Walter cares for Amy. Every morning he cooks her breakfast and cares in practical ways. Amy cares for Walter.  She dotes on him and calls him “Love”.  When asked what they would say to someone young in marriage and family they said “You have to take the good with the bad. You have to try hard at marriage”.  They’ve realised that anything worth having is worth investing in. They’ve made a point never to go to sleep on an argument or let things fester.  Amy says “don’t be selfish” in your marriage. Walter says “don’t give up” when things get tough.
It’s amazing the thought that if two people put each other ahead of themselves and believe in the bond of marriage, something wonderful can happen.  Enjoy a little peek at this sweet couple. I am so pleased to have met them, I only wished I could have stayed longer!  xx  Maddie

family love [brisbane baby photography]

There is nothing quite like having beautiful portraits of your little one when they are babies.  It’s such a fleeting time in the scheme of things and I know I treasure the images on my walls of my children who grew faster than I could have imagined. I cherish looking at their soft skin, innocent eyes and playful smiles.
I’m often asked when the best time for baby portraits is and, while the most popular is probably newborn sessions and around 6 months, another fantastic age is as they approach one year old or reach the grand first year birthday.  It’s a gorgeous time when your little one still has all their cuteness but also, your family has settled in now too and have built a special bond together over the year of life shared.
I met this gorgeous family late last year and they had their portraits taken just after Eva’s first birthday. It was a pleasure to capture not only their little princess in all her cuteness, but also how much this little family love each other.  They had a beautiful afternoon in the park together and now have special memories to adorn their home (and the grandparents!) as they remember their little girl in all her sweet beauty. Enjoy x

new year, new stories [brisbane portraits]

I am officially back at work now (2 days/week) and I had a fantastic break. I so loved being with my family.  Just us five mostly, non-stop for two weeks. It was simple, mostly local to Brisbane and involved lots of good old fashioned fun together. Picnics and exploring by the sea.  Catching up with friends and family we love. Lazy BBQ’s and easy dinners. Making a billycart from scratch and other fun old-school adventures.  We were just US, enjoying our life, together.
There were many times in there that I thought ‘Oh, I wish someone was capturing this!’. And while I did take many precious photos, I realised you can never really capture EVERY second, for that would be impossible. But you CAN capture some, the most beautiful parts.  And so I grew in my belief that photography for me is really a gift, helping us to cherish the good times in life.  The parts where you truly stop and say ‘I just want to stay here forever’. It also confirmed my style of capturing organic, storytelling, carefree images. Just you, in your space, with those you love.  As I look back at the 100+ sessions I did last year (thank you to all my beautiful muses!) and then think about the ones to come this year, I feel very honoured to be able to do this for you xx
So to begin this year of focus on families and people stories, I thought I’d post some images from a cute little family session I photographed recently.  Mum, Dad, and their little boy called Ransom, soon to be a big brother.  Ransom was a  little guy was full of energy and life. And obviously adored by mum and dad. He is bound to be a fun big brother.  Gorgeous.  Enjoy x Maddie

lovey dovey sessions [couple photography brisbane]

I’ve just farewelled my last full wedding clients who popped in this afternoon to see their wedding images (yes, I am ‘on holidays’ but I just had to show them before Christmas!). Heidri and Tim are so gorgeous (inside and out!) and I am so honoured that they chose me to capture their day.  So here are a few more sneak peeks of this beautiful duo on their wedding day xx

As most of you know, I won’t be shooting larger weddings for a few years (as I savour time with my young family) but I am SO glad that I will can still photograph couples portrait sessions.   Spending time with a couple in love is probably my favourite part of a wedding day so I am thrilled that I can still do this.   There is something precious about having beautiful portraits of yourselves up in your bedroom or your home.   So next year, my plan is to invite more couples to book in for a portrait session and make it something unique to them. You don’t need a wedding day to hire a couture dress and a suit and book a hair and makeup artist.  You can be a star for the day whether you’ve been together for a year or married for twenty. You can also keep it simple – perhaps rugging up in June in your winter woolies and heading to your favourite quaint cafe to share drinks and play cards. Or you could spend at hour at your favourite library and the markets and I will follow you around. Or it could even be afternoon drinks on your deck in the sunset, at the home that you love. Whatever it is that makes you two feel the love just as you are, that is what I want to capture for you.  Maddie x

Louise & Ryan (Bangalow Wedding)

I met Ryan and Louise earlier this year and clicked with them from the moment we met (as I do with all my lovely couples!). Hearing them talk about their wedding plans and how they wanted their guests to experience the day was exciting to my love of all things fun, vintage, quirky and creative.  At the time they were both living in Perth, so the next time I saw them was mid year for their engagement session (see it here as featured on Polka Dot Bride!). After the session, I knew the time we spent together was just a taste of the fun I would have capturing their wedding day love story.
Their wedding (10/11/12) was to be held in the region behind Byron Bay, within the quaint town of Bangalow.   After a simple ceremony under the trees, the reception was planned to be an outdoor celebration with games on the lawn and an evening under the stars and pretty lights. However when nature decided it was meant to be a rainy day, Louise and Ryan went with the flow, and quickly took their ideas and recreated it all inside a quaint hall.  This would have been no mean feat considering the detail of their day, but they had amazing family and friends who helped move their outdoor wedding celebration to an indoor one – and it still had the perfect atmosphere!
With one of my talented second shooters Josh Weier by my side, we captured their perfect day and the story that was their wedding.  We truly had a blast with them and enjoyed every minute!  From the delightful details in atmosphere, to the activities for guests, through to the absolutely delicious catering by Fig Tree Restaurant (and Louise’s mum’s special dessert bar!) everything had been thought of.  I especially loved watching the relationships between guests – beautiful speeches, thoughtful words and loads of fun dancing!  As quite the travelling duo, at present Louise and Ryan are crossing the Nullarbor and heading to Brisbane.  I can’t wait to see them in January before they then begin an eight month trip to Africa, America and Europe – loads of fun adventures ahead!  I hope you enjoy this peek at their day x Maddie
Note: I am no longer shooting large weddings from Jan 2013 but am available for intimate ceremonies, registry weddings and vow renewals. I also specialise in family portraits, individual sessions and couples session, so if you like what you see, please drop me a line and I would love to chat x


who you are [brisbane portrait photography]

When clients book in for a portrait session, I always encourage them to make their session truly about THEM. As I capture their story with my creative eye, I want their collection of images to not only be about what they look like at this time in history, but WHO they are and what makes them happy.  I want to capture their personalities, their loves, their relationships and the things that bring them joy or inspire their everyday lives.  When Sasha emailed me to book in a session for her family, we locked in a date about 4-6 months ahead. Over the coming months through our emails and exchange of ideas, I was able to get a real feel for the type of people they are and what they love about life. A truly sweet, quirky, fun loving family.
Co-incidentally, just a few weeks before our session,  I heard that the very talented Tash from Whimsy Petite Styling was looking at making her cute caravan “Nellie” available for session hire. So I jumped at the chance to book her for this family session as I knew it would be perfect for them!  After liaising with Tash to see if she was available, I then contacted Sasha and told her about Tash’s wonderful styling and the delightful “Nellie”. Sasha had been looking at different prop hire items like vintage couches and some funky cafe locations, but when she heard about Tash and “Nellie” there was no question but to lock it in!  It was them to a tea.  We all had a wonderful afternoon together and I had an amazing time capturing Tash’s beautiful styling around this delightful young family as they spent time with one another. Enjoy! Maddie x
NOTE: “Nellie” is available for hire for photography sessions with etta photography in 2013 through Whimsy Petite Styling. Tash is an AMAZING photography session stylist who can be booked to create something truly unique and exciting for you from a wide range of themes and ideas. All you need is a few key thoughts, a favourite colour, a favourite location or such and together the ideas will flow!  Please contact me to talk further about booking a unique and meaningful session for you, your family, your kids or even a lovey-dovey couples session!  So much fun ahead xx